Here are some thoughtful views by Atty. Raul Pangalangan on the electoral process. He hits the nail on the head when he finds that the main problem is dagdag-bawas. And that automating the post-precinct canvass goes a very long way towards avoiding dagdag-bawas. The same view is expressed on the editorial pages of the Daily Tribune by Ninez Cacho-Olivares.
Unfortunately, the law as it stands (RA 9369) has a kind of Catch-22 aspect.
The pilot test requirement bars nationwide automation in 2010. RA 9369, properly interpreted, requires pilot testing in Luzon and the Visayas as a condition precedent to nationwide automation in the next election. In other words, we can automate on a pilot basis in 2010, but nationwide automation would have to wait till 2013.
But this means the safeguards against dagdag-bawas already in RA 9369, such as that any person can capture the data on the election returns posted at the precincts after a manual count may not be implemented by Comelec, on the theory that such safeguards presume nationwide automation.
Recall that what RA 9369 does is allow for electronic means of canvass nationwide as part of an automated system, but this may mean that such electronic canvass is subject to the pilot test requirement. In other words, Comelec can claim that we also can’t automate the canvass for 2010.
It is a conundrum. It seems that the only way to automate the post-precinct canvass is to amend RA 9369. But I hope I’m wrong.